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Army November 26, 2009
ADF troops in southern
Afghanistan in recent weeks have
unearthed major weapon caches
and other supplies fuelling key
These strongholds have been
responsible for the distribution of
arms, ammunition, equipment and
fighters across the region.
In the latest of 10 significant
finds in the past few weeks, soldiers
discovered a stash of 93 pieces of
military-grade explosives, weighing
23kg. Other caches held a variety
of weapons, ammunition and explo-
sives, including 107mm rockets.
Engineers from MRTF 2 also
disposed of concealed IEDs, discov-
ered by patrols in locations north of
Commander of Australian forces
in the Middle East Maj-Gen Mark
Kelly said the bulk of the hidden
stores would have been used to
make IEDs, “the insurgents’ weap-
on of choice” against Afghans and
“ Every time we uncover weap-
ons and munitions caches and IEDs
like these, we are potentially depriv-
ing those who wish to maim and kill
innocent people of the means to do
so,” Maj-Gen Kelly said.
An operation last month by
SOTG, Afghan National Security
Forces (ANSF) and other coalition
forces seized and destroyed weap-
ons, IEDs and IED components, and
large quantities of munitions.
The raid also recovered stolen
Afghan Army uniforms, medical
kits and communications equipment.
Among the supplies were about
100kg of opium resin, a key source
of funding for the Taliban.
“This stronghold has, until now,
provided a secure base area from
which to sustain the insurgency
throughout southern Afghanistan,”
Maj-Gen Kelly said.
“ What this operation says very
clearly to the insurgency is that it
doesn’t matter where you are, we
can find you, and strike you.”
He said the complex operation
was well supported by coalition
partners and its success reflected
the level of operational co-operation
between SOTG, the ANSF and other
WITH months of quarantine
still ahead of her, the future for
Sabi the Special Forces explo-
sive detection dog who turned
up in Afghanistan after missing
in action for 14 months, remains
The likelihood, however, is the
black labrador will be allowed to
retire on the back of the publicity
surrounding her re-emergence from
the wilderness a few weeks ago.
She is in good health, accord-
ing to vets, and is being cared for
by an ADF member as she serves
out Australian quarantine require-
ments in an approved country for
six months. If her health allows her
to return, she will then have another
month in quarantine in Australia.
Sabi disappeared in September
last year after her handler was
among nine Australian soldiers
wounded during the same battle in
which SAS Tpr Mark Donaldson
won his Victoria Cross.
Repeated SOTG searches failed
to find her and she spent more than
a year in Afghanistan’s desolate
A US soldier retrieved her at an
isolated patrol base in Oruzgan. The
soldier, identified as John, knew his
Australian Special Forces mates
were missing one of their dogs.
He said it was immediately obvi-
ous Sabi was no ordinary canine. “I
took the dog and gave it some com-
mands it understood.”
The Australian trainer instantly
recognised her. “I nudged a tennis
ball to her with my foot and she
took it straight away. It’s a game we
used to play over and over during
her training,” he said. “It’s amazing,
just incredible, to have her back.”
In the UK to meet the Queen,
Tpr Donaldson said Sabi’s return
was a morale booster for the troops.
“She’s the last piece of the puz-
zle,” he said. “ Having Sabi back
gives some closure for the handler
and the rest of us who served with
her in 2008.”
Sabi had been near the end of her
second tour of duty in Afghanistan,
having previously deployed to
Oruzgan in 2007. She also served
with the Incident Response
Regiment during the Melbourne
Commonwealth Games in 2006.
Sabi gives paws for thought
All ahead of her: Sabi, washed
and ready to play.
Photo by Capt Stuart Wood
On watch: A SOTG soldier provides security during a convoy move through
Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.
Dust duty: SOTG patrol vehicles travel through an Afghan desert region.
Photos by LS Paul Berry
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